Ledger President Pascal Gauthier on the Bear Market, “Being Your Own Bank” and Ledger Vault

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When it comes to safely storing your crypto, there is perhaps no name better known than Ledger.

Their hardware wallets have proved incredibly popular, with the company revealing in October last year that they had sold over 1.3 million units of the Ledger Nano S.

Launched in 2014 following the now-infamous Mt Gox hack, the founders saw the need for more secure solutions for crypto holders to store their assets.

Since then the company has expanded rapidly, completing $75 million of Series B round funding in January 2018, and now has offices in San Francisco, New York, Paris and Vierzon, with an expanding roster of products including the new Ledger Vault custody offering for institutional clients.

Pascal Gauthier is President of Ledger. After working at Kelkoo and as COO of advertising company Criteo, Pascal was a Venture Partner in Mosaic Ventures before joining Ledger.

We spoke with Pascal Gauthier about how the bear market has affected Ledger, their roadmap ahead and whether people are ready to “be their own bank.”

How has the market decline since early 2018 affected Ledger?

Going into 2018 we didn’t think Bitcoin at $20,000 was sustainable so we were not caught off guard to see things slow down. At the end of the day all blockchain related businesses are somewhat correlated to the price of crypto. With that being said, things were moving at unsustainable speeds in this space back in late 2017/early 2018. The slow down has allowed not only Ledger but others in the space to have more time to solidify infrastructure.

What is on your roadmap for the coming year?

We just rolled out our Enterprise solution the Ledger Vault and response has been quite positive. We see building a strong foundation on the institutional side being a key focus, as 2019 is the year of custody.

Are there any trends you have noticed in the industry that stand out to you?

The market is starting to realize the importance of having a strong infrastructure to support longer term growth: Security, governance, regulation, insurance etc...are all key areas that many of the key players are addressing in some shape or form.

What business and technical decisions or investments have shown the biggest benefits to Ledger?

At Ledger, we view technology and security as an essential pillar for this asset class. When we designed our hardware wallet, the Nano S, security was number one. As we bring to market the Ledger Vault and our IoT solutions, security continues to be the area that we will never compromise on. So far, that decision has proved to pay off.

Do you think individuals are ready to 'be their own bank' on a large scale?

The spirit around Blockchain is decentralization, so individuals definitely can be their own bank. With this being said, one of the main reasons why you need a bank today is because your assets have gotten too big that you believe having someone help safeguard them gives you more piece of mind. For individuals that have accumulated large balances of Crypto you unfortunately become more targeted and are still exposed to physical threats. So it is less a question of “can you?”, but more of “how comfortable you feel”.

Has Vault been well received?

The Vault has been extremely well received as many clients and financial institutions we have engaged are very impressed by how well thought through the design is to accommodate their operational and potential regulatory needs. When we developed the Vault we anticipated what market needs would be for the longer term and implemented methods to leverage technology to resolve certain security and operational challenges.